Left 4dead Strategies and advice

Here are some strategies and tricks you can use in your playthroughs of the new popular zombie/viral outbreak game “Left4 Dead”

ADVICE
Playing as Survivors

Your health and your possession of a medkit counts towards your score. And with all the game’s multipliers, it’s a word of wisdom worth heeding. Pills, however, have no effect on this, as the health boost is temporary. #

Your score is a function of several things, including health. The difference of 1 or 80 health may not seem like a lot when versus games are several thousand points, but take that 79 extra health, multiply it by a map’s difficulty multiplier (say 1.4 for No Mercy 2) and by 4 for survivor total and that makes a difference of more than 400 points. And so forth.

Survivors grabbed by Smokers and Hunters don’t take Friendly Fire: So let loose your shotgun and meleeing – and consider plain shooting your friend in need, as hitting the tongue will be much easier that way.

Molotovs on Tanks: One molotov kan kill a Tank singlehandedly; when hitting the Tank, it starts a countdown timer, which varies depending on the difficulty. On Expert, the number’s 2.5 points of damage a second out of the Tank’s total health of 100, meaning that, at full health, the Tank will die 40 seconds after impact. The molotov doesn’t do any actual damage.

Turning on your flashlight allows your fellow Survivors to see your silhouette through walls and other objects.

Things you definitely can do:

* Melee (no idea if other weapons are allowed for melee, though. I didn’t risk it.)
* Switch to/pick up other weapons.
* Shoot exploding things like propane tanks
* Use the single handgun – still counts for the achievement
* Environmental damage
* Pipebombs and molotovs #

Here’s the damage chart for regular infected on all the difficulties. Feel free to use it to boast about your skills to other, inferior, players.

* Easy – 1hp
* Normal – 2hp
* Advanced – 5hp
* Expert – 20hp

“He who does not pay attention to the sounds around him might as well play without a monitor” – Chinese proverb.

Every type of Infected has a sound (and music) cue, as they approach, or just before spawning:

* The Horde: Music intensity increases.
* The Tank: 1) Prior to spawning: Grunting/Nostril flaring 2)Ground shaking – special noticeable music ensues (at least when spotted).
* The Witch: Sobbing – high pitch piano notes being hammered, and subtle wailing in the music.
* The Boomer: Gurgling sound, burps, and shouts “BOOM!” – a few very low piano notes.
* The Smoker: Coughing fits
* The Hunter: Screaming/shrieking and growling – but only when it’s crouched!

The Infected can see your silhouettes, when you are …

* Shooting
* Running
* Chatting – voice commands and voice chat – don’t know about text chat(?)

* NOT when you are walking
* NOT when you are jumping
* NOT when you are reloading
* NOT when you are using your flashlight

The Witch is, like any other woman inflicted by PMS, aggravated by people …

* Staring at her for too long
* Pointing the flashlight at her
* Getting too close to her
* Shooting nearby or at her

* NOT by people using the flashlight and not pointing it at her.
* NOT by people talking (text/voice commands/voice chat)(?)

… she presumably builds up anger (imagine a pissed-o-meter), and will at some point be startled.

Hiding in her nearby vicinity out of her line of sight doesn’t seem to calm her down.

This is far from confirmed, but based on observations it looks like the Witch has three states: idle (crying), alert (turns around to look at you), and disturbed (leaps at you and starts slashing away). She might return to idle after becoming alert, assuming whatever triggered her alert state is removed.

When the Witch is startled, it will go after the person who startled her, or, if that person is out of reach, whomsoever within it; if she manages to kill the person, she’ll go back to her idle state, if no one else ticks her off. She’s programmed to leave the map entirely after killing the startler.

Killing the Witch in one hit: The Witch can be killed with one shot of the shotgun, if all the pellets hit, earning you the Cr0wnd Achievement. However, some players report that she has to get up from sitting down, before it works, so wait until she’s started standing up.

Witches and Tanks don’t take extra damage from headshots. #

Playing as Infected
Infected don’t take fall damage

Landing on Survivors from high altitude damages them up to 25 points: Think about using this to your advantage.

Hunters can wall-jump: Keep crouching and use pounce aimed at your destination – and make sure to piss off those Survivors in the elevator.

But, Hunters! Don’t crouch all the time, as your character will make a growling sound, alerting Survivors to your presence.

Boomers can self-detonate: But you have to bind the command explode to a key (do so by “bind [key] explode”. Doesn’t work after Dec 4 update.

Also, you can use yourself as a bomb, if you jump from a building onto a group of unsuspecting Survivors.

Note for “Barf Bagged” Achievement: Exploding on all four survivors doesn’t count, according to personal accounts. It has to be vomit.

STRATEGY
Survivors

Pills: Only use them during or right before battle, as their boost to your health is only temporary.

Melee!: It’s very effective (some believe it to be too effective). It’s great as a panic reaction (rather than shooting in 8 directions), if you meet a Boomer around the corner, or if you get swarmed by the Horde.

Need to reload at a bad time? Use melee to buy yourself the time to reload.

Pistols: Aside from melee, your pistols aren’t to be underestimated. After all, infinite ammo.

Crouch: To avoid drawing friendly fire and to increase your accuracy.

Escaping the Smoker tongue: You have a few seconds to shoot the Smoker, allowing you to escape. Some say that you can escape by turning around yourself in the first few seconds to – regard it only as speculation at this point, though.

Shooting the Smoker’s tongue also works.

Crowd control against the Horde:

* Close the doors – if you hear the Infected behind a door, you can create a hole in it and shoot or throw explosives through it.
* Bottlenecks and chokepoints – it worked for Leonidas. When inside, see if you can make the Horde pass through a narrow passage, lessening the burden and speed of the buggers.
* Make good use of your slimed teammates – so you’re slimed; congratulations, you just became the group’s bait. Use it to your advantage. See the other points about making obstacles and chokepoint bottlenecks, and remember that the Infected will usually if not always go after the bile-covered teammate, even though the other Survivors are nearby; therefore, place the slimed Survivor at the position most difficult to reach – such as behind the rest of the group. You might shoot the Infected passing, while the slimed Survivor melee punches those who manage to reach him. Time to put the long hours of TD to good use!
* 180>360 – having your back against the wall and facing one (180 – sorta) side of Infected is often better than being completely surrounded (360). This also makes it easier to use melee effectively.
* Take cover – like with bottlenecks, any kind of obstacle makes it more ardous for the Horde to reach you, making it all the more easy to deal with them.
* Duck! – Duh! Maximize your damage potential and minimize friendly fire and the number of things you and your teammates have to think about. If you’re slimed, you can’t shoot for shit anyway.
* Run! – the Horde doesn’t care if you have to take a leak at the house you’re in; they’ll keep pressing on. Avoid using too much of your precious time searching for pick-ups, when you could have used the time to advance. Helping teammates in dire need is another thing, though.
* Teamwork – the nobrainer that some people still seem to forget. The team that fights together lives together. Four people working together is way more than four times as effective as four people going Rambo.
On Expert you won’t make it without teamwork.
* Look around you – use your surroundings: Propane tanks, gas tanks, miniguns. Place the tanks to fit your every whim against the Horde.

Avoiding friendly fire:

* If everybody’s squeezed together, and a zombie is approaching, melee him. It’ll knock the zombie back and set you up for a shot; and if it doesn’t, just keep meleeing him until you can shoot him or until he’s dead. Firing wildly in tight corridors and trying to nail a zombie near your teammates is just generally a bad idea. (Melee in general should be used frequently; I see people all the time trying to back up and shoot when they could easily just take a swing and give themselves some breathing room.)
* Try not to shoot at stuff when there’s a teammate behind it. Try to maneuver until you have a clean shot.
* If you absolutely have to shoot at something with a teammate directly behind it, aim low. Let your bullets hit the ground in front of your teammate, and not the teammate himself.
* As for maneuvering, don’t jump around too much. This isn’t Counter-Strike, and the zombies don’t have their own guns. You’ll be doing your teammates a favor by staying in one place and not dashing into their line of fire.
* Crouching when you’re in front is good to let teammates get a shot over your head, but don’t suddenly get up or move around until you’re sure they’re not going to fire again for a few seconds.
* When zombies are surrounding a teammate, shoot the zombies to his side. You won’t get them all, but you won’t be hitting your teammate either.
* Likewise, once a teammate is downed, make sure you actually aim above their body. You can still do a lot of accidental damage even though they’re on the ground.
* When in doubt, don’t try to play the hero and blast a zombie about to take a swing at a teammate from behind. In all likelihood, you may mess up and end up doing more damage to your teammate than the zombie would have.
* Don’t ever get in front of a shotgun. They are the front line of any encounter.
* Switch to pistols when you are behind someone. I got mad and killed a survivor who shot me twice with his shotgun and didn’t bother to pick me up.
* STOP STRAFING!

All sorts of Survivor advice:

* In a finale, if you stay close to the weapons table, quickly picking up the same/another weapon from the table with a full mag is instant reload – very good for tanks on Expert if you want to keep the autoshotty going without reloading.
* Don’t forget about your explosives! And dont be afraid to use them either. If a boomer hits 3 or 4 of you and theres still other bosses around, throwing a (one) pipebomb is not a waste!
* If you are using a shotgun and run out of ammo, take the time to press the reload button before starting to block mobs with melee. It only takes a second until the animation starts, but being able to thin out the mob 6 seconds later is worth it. AKA Melee Reload.
* When using the automatic rifle, aim for the heads – thats instant kill and rewards you with head explosions! If you hit the body instead it will usually take around 6 bullets to slow down a common infected. If you cant aim that well, the autoshotty is probably more effective against common infected.
* When using the autoshotty, shoot slowly. Its tempting just to pump 10 rounds into a rushing mob as fast as you can, but those 10 shells can do double the damage if you wait a bit between shots for them to come closer and catch more pellets.
* Autoshotty vs. crying Witch: Go for it; if you’re lucky you’ll do over 1400 damage in 2 shells. If everybody has tier 2 weapons and lines up correctly, you can kill her without even letting her get up.
* If the tank has brought a teammate down and you have enough health to not be slowed down, quickly go in and melee the tank from behind. If you did it quick enough the tank is likely to loose interest in the incapitated guy and will chase you without delivering the finishing blow. Be sure to have a route to run away from him though, because hes chasing you now and at least one of your teammates should help the incapitated guy up. Being able to navigate through the levels while running backwards helps too.
* In case you want to know how the Director works, start a local singleplayer game, enable sv_cheats 1 and set director_debug 1 – this should also explain why wasting time is not a good idea. #

* If you have any weapon aside from the shotgun, you can afford to shoot from far off. 90% of the time there is no excuse for you to be closer to the zombies than the guy with the shotgun. #

* It’s best to let your teammates take care of themselves, for regular infected. It’s great that you are embracing the team aspect, but too often I see people dashing in front a shotgun blast, or putting half a burst of buckshot into my back, to kill a zombie I’m facing. Learn the shotgun’s spread, and you can easily shoot things running up to teammates without risk. Of course, on Expert’s 20 dmg a hit, killing zombies heading for teammates is much more important.
* Also, while melee is great to set up a shot, fucking shoot the thing! Too often do people just melee the same 3 zombies instead of blasting them and moving on. This also causes the above hero routine, and wastes time and possibly health. Not to mention having several zombies NOT dead, when you’ve assumed your teammate deal with it.
* Oftentimes, it’s best to shoot a pounced hunter instead of knocking him off the teammate. He might get an extra slash in, but it’s better than giving him the chance at NOT dying and pouncing away. It also runs the risk of blasting the teammate when they stand back up, trying to hit the hunter. Not so much an issue with tier 2 weapons, but it happens to me quite often. #

* I’m glad there are folks talking strategy like “don’t strafe and/or jump around” but I take it a step further. When I shoot, I pretty much always stop and always crouch. If I had my dream team of Survivors they would all do this. In fact, the only time anyone would move is when no one is shooting. The only time anyone would shoot is when no one is moving.
* “This isn’t Counter-Strike and the zombies don’t have their own guns.” That’s a very important thing to realize. Even in Versus, standing still (or rather, ducking still) while you are shooting stuff is the best strategy.
* The Hunter’s ability to pounce on people is so lax in its collision detection that no amount of dodging about is going to prevent it. In fact, I believe this is why melee was made to be as powerful as it is: Because dodging is simply not in the skill set required for a good Survivor. You need to have pinpoint accuracy and lightning reflexes, and the ability to keep moving so long as your three teammates are still with you.
* The only exception to the rule of not running AND shooting simultaneously is when a Tank is running right for you. In that case you should probably have your teammates a bit more spread out and thus your shots aren’t nearly as at risk of hitting a teammate in the first place.

* More tips: When Tanks come during finales, switch to shotgun, if you have the chance to get to the weapon pile. You can switch back after it’s done but nothing takes apart a tank like a team of shotguns.

* You can hand off grenade weapons just like you can hand off pills.

* ALWAYS announce before you intend to throw something, and what you’re throwing: Not doing this can gimp your entire campaign on Expert.
* ALWAYS say your relative location and the mob’s type before you start talking details:
Whether the mob pounced/strangled/vomited on you, or you’ve got a witty self-aggrandizing explanation, save it until the important stuff is known.

“SMOKER BEHIND HES STRANGLING ME WITH HIS UGLY TONGUE HELP FUCK FUCK FUCK GOGOGOGOOGOGOGO” – Acceptable
“Smoker above us, help!” – Good
“Fuck guys, melee this shit off me! Hunter on me! Look behind you, idiots!!!” – Bad
* Learn your role, and play it well: Some players are just better at landing 10 consecutive headshots with an AR, or never incurring friendly fire with their shotgun. Your group’s strength increases dramatically the more versatile you become. While the shotgun is amazing, having three people with shotguns isn’t, unless it’s temporary (for killing a tank, cr0wning, etc).
* Don’t be afraid to restart: If you’re trying your hardest to finish a tough campaign, nothing can hinder you more than beginning the 2nd chapter with no health packs or health.

The discussion on versus “speediness vs. exploring every nook-n’-cranny” mentality reminded me about how I decide whether or not to explore for extra stuff in Versus:

1. Are you ahead of the group/someone is catching up? If not, keep fucking moving. If yes, go to 2.

2. You have some time to spare, check out that shack/closet/room! But wait, use your ears for a moment and listen; do you hear beyond the door:

-a shit-load of horde infected chattering
-the distinct idle babbling of a boss infected
-crying
-Masculine growling and grunting

If yes, ignore that fucking area or scream for you buddies to get over there faster, cause’ you’re in deep shit. If you don’t hear anything beyond a couple shamblers, then by all means, take a peek and go to 3!

3. Door’s open, so with your flashlight out, make a quick sweep across your field of view. See anything that clearly looks like some freebies, or something highlighted in blue? Congratulations, you’ve done something productive! Grab that shit and yell to your friends about your amazing discovery of painkillers on a bedroom nightstand.

On the other hand, did you find jack shit, but you’ve got a hunch there might be something further into the room, possibly in that closet? Fuck that shit, in the time you spent towards wasting a couple of infected and scanning the room, you’re buddies have already caught up by now, and are probably ahead of you. Whatever you can’t see beyond your flashlight range is dead to you now and any more time spent oggling the scenery is more time for b00merM@ster69 to spawn behind a telephone poll and vomit up Bill’s ass. Keep fucking moving.

Lastly, no more than 2 players should be actively searching for goodies. More eyes on ceramic bathroom counter #58 is less eyes on that Smoker that’s been following you for the past five minutes.

Happy Noodle Boy posted:

Playing expert with no Mic etiquette:

* Is there someone in front of you? No? CROUCH because chances are they’re behind you. This is especially important if you’re all in a closet/bathroom fighting the horde in the finales or elevator or whatever.
* Never, ever, fucking EVER cross ahead of them. Almost all FF incidents I’ve seen come from someone clearing zombies in a corner and some idiot trying to get to the other side by walking in front of them.
* Are you 100% sure of where you teammate are? No? MELEE first, then shoot. Especially in close/confined areas where a random shot might cost someone their health.
* Horde/scary music playing/Boomer incident? Two things:
1) FIND A CORNER/WALL, CROUCH AND MELEE until you know where your teammates are.
2) STAND FUCKING STILL. The zombies don’t shoot/snipe/rocket you. You don’t need to strafe/zig-zag your way. With everyone standing still you can shoot zombies sneaking up behind someone without being worried of shooting them.
* RUN FROM THE FUCK AWAY FROM TANKS. They WILL kill you if you get hit. Light them on fire and run, they will die from it in about a minute without needing to fill them with lead. The only instance where I’ve seen you need to fight/kill a tank is in No Mercy in the sewers where sewage seems to put out molotov fire.
* Take your time moving through. Unlike versus, it’s ok to take your time getting to the safe house. Move into a corner/new area, plop down and clear it without running like a maniac. Once it’s safe, move on. Keep and eye out for Special Infected coming from behind or the roof. speaking of special infected…
* If someone gets caught and you’re too far to melee free them… SHOOT. I’m not 100% sure on this, but they receive little to no damage from you when they’re tangled up by a smoker and you can free them that way.

It’s mostly common sense but for fuck’s sake people; be wary of where your teammates are. I would not be surprised, if there were a graph for damage received in Expert, and 70-80% of it came from friendly fire.

Infected
Take out the stray sheep: If a Survivor strays from the flock, be ready to grab him with a Smoker.

If the Survivor’s down, move on to the next one: Tanks pounding away on a Survivor already on the ground (alive or not) is aggravating to experienced players, because it’s a waste of precious clobberin’ time.

All sorts of Infected advice:

* As a Tank, punching cars/trees around is the fastest way to kill the survivors. Even better that on the first map of No Mercy you can punch the red car in their direction and there’s a good chance they’re going to shoot it, set off the car alarm and alert the horde.

* Also always drag your victim away from the direction they’re moving in, not towards it. I’ve seen a lot of pubbies not do this, and it’s just frustrating.

* As a Smoker in No Mercy is, consider pulling people OFF the roof by the gas station lift.

Most people spawn above them, where all the zombies come from, but by pulling one Survivor off the roof effectively, you either fuck him over or slow down his buddies, when they try to cover their friend, as they run all the way back to the ladder.

The counter to this is the ground level door you can open up from the inside. Get someone to hold out in front of it, while moving towards open it, so you won’t have to run all the way to the ladder.

* Wait for it!: Especially as a smoker, you’ll generally only make one final appearance before executing your plan against the survivor. Make sure you’re mounting your attack from the correct location, that you’ll inflict maximum damage, and if possible; let some other people know!
* Ride the rush: In order for an attack to be successful, with all four survivors sticking together, you need a distraction. Whether it’s the director or your team’s boomer, attacking during a rush is much more effective.
* Go for the kill(s): If the survivors have any chance of completing the mission, and you’ve got one of them down twice, finish them off. They’ve already proven one incap won’t slow them down. (Exception should be made when playing as a tank, unless near a safe house).
* Don’t sit there, they’re healing!: I’ve played in a lot of versus matches, and especially in higher difficulties, the team of survivors will go down without using a single health pack; they just didn’t have the time. If you have a chance to disrupt a team’s healing session, it’s possible you could make a game-changing move.

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Cold Fear

Cold Fear was an atmospheric survival horror game released by Ubi soft for playstation 2 in 2005. There are currently PC and Xbox ports available.

Cold Fear

Story

In Cold Fear you play as Tom Hansen, a sailor in the U.S. Coast Guard who has been sent in to investigate a mysterious Russian frigate in the middle of the ocean. As Hansen, you find out that the boat is occupied by hostile Russian soldiers and by alien creatures that use humans and other life forms as hosts, to feed on and to use as protection from the environment. The aliens are a threat to Hansen from both inside and outside their host bodies. His investigation leads to the mystery of the ship and its lethal cargo.

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Gameplay

Cold Fear plays like any other game of its genre, but its play mechanics are most reminiscent of those of Resident Evil 4. In Cold Fear, players can assume a behind the shoulder camera angle, much like Resident Evil 4. However, unlike Resident Evil 4, players can choose between a fixed camera angle or a behind the shoulder camera angle. Also, unlike Resident Evil 4, the player can move while aiming a weapon. The game employs many scare tactics, as well, like those found in Resident Evil and Doom 3. For example, when opening a door, a creature may jump out at the player, or while talking to an NPC, a creature may just burst out of his chest. And unlike Resident Evil, Cold Fear employs a stamina bar, which decreases as the player does certain actions, like running, which means you’ll be taking constant breaks to make sure Hansen is rested enough to proceed.

The conditions on the deck of the ship can change how the player can control Hansen. Since the game takes place in the middle of the ocean during a huge storm, there’s bound to be a lot of movement of the vessel as it bobs up and down through the rough seas. The cargo ship continuously banks left and right while you’re walking on deck, making it more difficult to aim and walk a straight line. In some instances, the ship rocks so much, and to such a great degree, that Hansen gets knocked down and sometimes sent overboard. There are also many environmental hazards, such as swinging electrical wires and crates hooked up to ropes, which are also affected by the swaying of the ship, and can easily crash into the player if he or she isn’t careful. Waves crashing on to the ship’s deck may also damage the player’s health.

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Weapons

  • .45 handgun
  • AK-47
  • spear gun
  • shotgun
  • M39 grenade launcher
  • flamethrower
  • MP5

Cold Fear’s advertising campaign created some striking visuals and fake scientific websites describing the strange parasitical organisms that appear as the game’s enemies.

concept art

Cold Fear screenshot 2

fake scientific research photos made for the game’s viral advertising campaign

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Halo: Combat Evolved

Time for another in depth look at a classic game, this time the well known Halo, the first of a trilogy that has become a runaway hit and synonymous with the Xbox console

Halo: Combat Evolved (or, more commonly, Halo or Halo 1) is a first-person shooter (FPS) video game developed by Bungie Studios. The first game of the Halo series, it was released on November 15, 2001 as a launch title for the Xbox gaming system, and is considered the platform’s “killer application.” With more than five million copies sold worldwide, Halo is second only to its sequel, Halo 2, in sales for the console. Microsoft released versions of the game for Microsoft Windows (developed by Gearbox Software) and Mac OS X in 2003, and the surrounding storyline was adapted and elaborated into a series of novels.

In Halo‘s twenty-sixth century setting, the player assumes the role of the Master Chief, a cybernetically enhanced “SPARTAN” super-soldier. The player is accompanied by Cortana, an artificial intelligence who occupies the Master Chief’s neural interface. Players battle various aliens on foot and in vehicles as they attempt to uncover the secrets of the eponymous Halo, a ring-shaped structure. The game has been called “easy to learn”, and has been praised for its “engaging story”.

Some game magazines have praised Halo as one of the best and most important games of all time; others consider it overrated, criticizing it for repetitive levels and the lack of online multiplayer play in the Xbox release. The game’s popularity has led to labels such as “Halo clone” and “Halo killer”, applied respectively to games either similar to or anticipated to be better than it. In addition, the game inspired and was used in the fan-created Red vs. Blue video series, which is credited as the “first big success” of machinima — the technique of using real-time 3D engines, often from video games, to create animated films.

Gameplay

The Master Chief fires his Assault Rifle at a pack of Grunts.


The Master Chief fires his Assault Rifle at a pack of Grunts.

As a first-person shooter, Halo has a gameplay fundamentally similar to that of its peers, focusing on combat in a 3D environment, and taking place almost entirely from a character’s eye view. The player can move around and look up, down, left or right. The game features vehicles, ranging from armored jeeps (Warthog) to tanks (Scorpion), alien hovercraft (Ghost) and even aircraft (Banshee), all of which can be controlled by the player. The game switches to the third-person perspective during vehicle use for pilots and mounted gun operators; passengers maintain a first-person view.

The player character is equipped with a damage-absorbing energy shield, in addition to hit points. The shield’s charge appears as a blue bar in the upper-right corner of the game’s heads-up display. When the shield is fully depleted, the player is highly vulnerable, and further damage reduces the character’s health level. However, the shield will recharge if no further damage is sustained for a brief period.

Halo‘s arsenal consists of weapons from science fiction. The game has been praised for giving each weapon a unique purpose, thus making them useful in different scenarios. For instance, plasma weapons need time to cool if fired too rapidly, but require no reloading. Instead, players are forced to discard them after depleting their batteries. In contrast, conventional firearms cannot overheat, but require reloading and ammunition. All weapons may be used to bludgeon enemies, which allows a player to silently kill opponents without alerting other nearby enemies. Players may carry only two weapons at once; thus, a strategy is required when using and selecting firearms.

The player can carry up to eight grenades at a time: four fragmentation and four plasma grenades each. Like the game’s other weapons, the two types of grenades differ; the fragmentation grenade bounces and detonates quickly, whereas the plasma grenade adheres to targets and takes longer to detonate. A controller button assigned to grenades eliminates the need to holster firearms before throwing.

Combatants

The game’s main enemy force is the Covenant, an alliance of alien species. Their forces include Elites, fierce warriors protected by recharging energy shields much like the player’s own (In fact the Master Chief’s armor is based on the Elite armor); Grunts, which are short, cowardly creatures, usually led by Elites, and who often flee in terror instead of fighting unless an Elite is present; Jackals, which have highly durable energy shields attached to their arms; and Hunters, large, powerful creatures with thick armor plates that cover the majority of their bodies.

A secondary enemy is The Flood, a parasitic alien life form that appears in three main variants. Infection Forms, the true form of the Flood, are fragile, but often travel in swarms; they do little damage individually, but the swarms often number in the hundreds. Combat Forms result from humans and Covenant Elites who are infested by Infection Forms, and have hideously deformed bodies. Bloated Carrier Forms serve as incubators for new Infection Forms, and when wounded or near a potential victim, they explode to damage other nearby life forms and to release their spores. Battling the Flood, the Covenant, and the player are the Sentinels, robotic drones designed by a race called the Forerunners. Sentinels lack durability, but use powerful beam weapons and are immune to infection by the Flood.

The artificial intelligence in Halo has been favorably received. Enemies take cover and use suppressive fire and grenades. Some enemies retreat when their superiors are killed. The player is often aided by United Nations Space Command (UNSC) Marines, who offer ground support, such as manning gun turrets or riding shotgun while the player is driving a vehicle.

Multiplayer

Because Halo was released before Xbox Live, online multiplayer games were not officially supported. The game instead uses local Ethernet or “system-link” that supports a maximum of 16 players. This setup was a first for a console game, but was often deemed impractical by critics. As Halo lacks artificially intelligent game bots, LAN parties are needed to reach the game’s 16-player limit. In addition to five customizable competitive multiplayer modes, two players may co-operatively play through the game’s campaign. Halo‘s multiplayer components were generally well-received by critics.

Although the Xbox version of Halo lacks official support for online multiplayer play, XBConnect and GameSpy’s Xbox Connect packet tunnelling software provide unofficial ways around this limitation. The Windows and Macintosh ports of Halo support online matches involving up to 16 players and include multiplayer maps not in the original Xbox release. However, co-operative play was removed from the ports because it would have required large amounts of recoding to implement. On March 15, 2004, Gearbox Software released Halo: Custom Edition for Windows, which enabled players to use custom-made maps and game modifications.

Synopsis

Setting

Main article: Halo universe

Halo takes place in a science fiction universe created by Bungie Studios specifically for the game. According to the story, the overpopulation of Earth and the realization of faster-than-light travel have caused the human race to colonize other planets. A keystone of these efforts is the planet Reach, an interstellar naval yard responsible for building starships, and a hub of scientific and military activity. A secret military endeavor, dubbed the SPARTAN Project, was established on Reach to create an army of biologically-engineered, cyborg “super-soldiers”. Thirty-two years before the beginning of the game, a technologically advanced collective of alien races, the Covenant, began to attack human settlements. Declaring humanity an affront to their gods, the Covenant launched a holy war against the human race. The United Nations Space Command experienced a series of crushing defeats, and, although the super-soldiers of the SPARTAN-II Project fought impressively against the Covenant, they were unable to turn the tides of war.

To prepare for a mission to discover the location of the Covenant homeworld by boarding one of its starships, SPARTAN-II soldiers were recalled to Reach for further augmentation. Two days before the mission was to begin, Covenant forces attacked Reach and destroyed the colony. A starship, the Pillar of Autumn, survived the onslaught and initiated a random jump to slip space (similar to light speed), hoping to lead the enemy away from Earth.

The titular Halo is an enormous, ring-shaped artificial space habitat/planet, which (according to Bungie Studios) has a diameter of ten thousand kilometers. Halo sits at a Lagrange point between a planet and its moon. Centrifugal force created by the rotation of the station, combined with artificial gravity generators provide the ring’s gravity.

Characters

Main article: List of Halo series characters

The player character is Master Chief Petty Officer John-117, one of the few (see Halo: The Fall of Reach and its sequels for more information) surviving super-soldiers of the SPARTAN-II project, and the main character of the story. Accompanying the Master Chief is the Pillar of Autumn‘s feminine artificial intelligence construct, Cortana, who resides in a neural implant connected to his battle armor, codenamed MJOLNIR Mark V. The Pillar of Autumn‘s captain, Jacob Keyes, is also a major character. Playing an antagonistic role in the game’s events is 343 Guilty Spark, an eccentric artificial intelligence responsible for monitoring and maintaining Halo’s systems.

Plot

From left, the Master Chief, Cortana, and Captain Keyes aboard the Pillar of Autumn.

From left, the Master Chief, Cortana, and Captain Keyes aboard the Pillar of Autumn.

The story is presented through an instruction manual, scripted events and conversations during the game, and in-game cut scenes. The game begins as the Pillar of Autumn exits slip-space near a mysterious ring-shaped space station, called “Halo” by the Covenant. A Covenant fleet attacks and heavily damages the Pillar of Autumn. Jacob Keyes initiates “The Cole Protocol“, a procedure designed to prevent the Covenant from learning the location of Earth. While Keyes prepares to land the ship on Halo, the Master Chief and Cortana escape via an escape pod, which crash lands on the ring.

Keyes survives the Autumn‘s crash landing, but is captured by the Covenant. In the second and third levels of the game, the Master Chief and Cortana gather human survivors and rescue Captain Keyes, who is imprisoned on the Covenant ship Truth and Reconciliation. Once rescued, Keyes orders the Master Chief to beat the Covenant to Halo’s control center and to discover its purpose. The Master Chief and Cortana travel to a map room called the Silent Cartographer, which leads them to the control room. There, Cortana enters the systems and, discovering something urgent, suddenly sends the Master Chief to find Captain Keyes, while she stays behind. While searching for his commander, the Master Chief learns that the Covenant have accidentally released the Flood, a parasitic alien race capable of spreading itself by overwhelming and infesting other sentient lifeforms. Keyes falls victim to them while looking for a cache of weapons. The release of the Flood prompts 343 Guilty Spark to recruit the Master Chief in retrieving the Index, a device that will activate Halo and prevent the Flood from spreading beyond the facility.

The Master Chief (left) converses with 343 Guilty Spark.

The Master Chief (left) converses with 343 Guilty Spark.

After the Master Chief retrieves and begins to use the Index, Cortana re-appears and warns him against the activation. She has discovered that Halo’s defense system is a weapon designed to kill all sentient life in the galaxy, thus effectively starving the Flood. When confronted with this information, 343 Guilty Spark states that the installation technically only has a maximum radius of twenty-five thousand light-years, but that its pulse would trigger other similar installations as well, killing all sentient life in the galaxy.

While fighting the Flood, the Covenant, and Guilty Spark’s Sentinels, the Master Chief and Cortana attempt to destroy Halo before 343 Guilty Spark activates it. Cortana discovers that the best way to destroy Halo is to cause the crashed Pillar of Autumn to self-destruct. However, Captain Keyes’ authorization is required to destroy the ship. By the time that they reach Keyes, he has been infected and turned into a Brain Flood. The Master Chief retrieves Keyes’ neural implants directly from his brain, and Cortana activates the Autumn‘s self-destruct sequence. However, 343 Guilty Spark reappears and deactivates the countdown, discovering the record of human history in the process. The Master Chief manually causes the Pillar of Autumn‘s fusion reactors to begin to melt down, giving him and Cortana only 15 minutes to escape. The Master Chief and Cortana flee in a UNSC Longsword fighter just in time to escape the Autumn‘s explosion, which in turn destroys Halo. The ending reveals that 343 Guilty Spark survives the destruction of Halo. The story is continued in Halo 2.

Soundtrack

Main article: Halo Original Soundtrack

Halo‘s soundtrack was created by Bungie Studios‘ audio director, Martin O’Donnell, and received enthusiastic praise from many critics. O’Donnell has stated that his goal was to provide “a feeling of importance, weight, and sense of the ‘ancient’.” He designed the music so that it “could be dissembled and remixed in such a way that would give [him] multiple, interchangeable loops that could be randomly recombined in order to keep the piece interesting as well as a variable length”. Development involved the creation of “alternative middle sections that could be transitioned to if the game called for such a change (i.e. less or more intense).”

O’Donnell has remarked that he “sat with the level designers and ‘spotted’ the level as though it was a movie, with the knowledge that the music would have to be malleable rather than static…. The level designer would tell me what he hoped a player would feel at certain points or after accomplishing certain tasks”. Based on this information, O’Donnell would “go back and develop appropriate music cues, then have the designer script the cues into the level, and then we’d play through it to see if it worked as desired.” He explained that the use of music in Halo is sparse because he believes that “[music] is best used in a game to quicken the emotional state of the player and it works best when used least”, and that “[if] music is constantly playing it tends to become sonic wallpaper and loses its impact when it is needed to truly enhance some dramatic component of game play.”

Development

The first official screenshot of Halo.

The first official screenshot of Halo.

On July 21, 1999, during the Macworld Conference & Expo, Steve Jobs announced that Halo would be released for Mac OS and Windows simultaneously. Before this public announcement, game industry journalists under a non-disclosure agreement had previewed the game in a private showing during E3 1999, and were reportedly amazed. Bungie Studios later stated an even earlier development build of the game centered on real-time strategy and was “basically Myth in a sci-fi universe.”

At E3 2000, the first trailer of Halo was well-received. The version shown there differed greatly from the one exhibited previously, marking the first major overhaul in the game’s development. At this point, Halo was a third-person action game, in which a transport starship crashlands on a mysterious ring world that orbits a star. Early versions of Covenant aliens appear in great numbers and loot what they can, and war erupts between them and the humans. Unable to match the technologically advanced alien race, the humans on the ring world resort to guerrilla warfare. This version of the game featured Halo-specific fauna, which were later dropped because of design difficulties and the creatures’ “detract[ion] from the surprise, drama and impact of the Flood.”

As rumors had predicted, Microsoft announced on June 19, 2000 that it had acquired Bungie Studios. Halo became an exclusive game for Microsoft’s Xbox video game console, and Bungie Studios rewrote the game’s engine, heavily altering its presentation and turning it into a first-person shooter. Originally a key element, the game’s online multiplayer component was dropped because Xbox Live would be unfinished at the time of Halo‘s release. While a playable demonstration of the game at Gamestock 2001 was well-received, critics had mixed reactions to its exhibition at E3 2001. The game was released in North America simultaneously with the Xbox, on November 15, 2001.

On July 12, 2002, a Halo port for Windows was announced to be under development by Gearbox Software, creators of the Half Life:opposing force sequel to Valve software’s Half Life. Its showing at E3 2003 was positively received by some critics, with skepticism by others. It was released on September 30, 2003, and included support for online multiplayer play and featured sharper graphics, but had compatibility issues that caused poor performance. Halo was later released for Mac OS X on December 11, 2003. On December 4, 2007, the game became available for the Xbox 360 via download from the Xbox Live Marketplace for 1200 Microsoft Points.

Reception

Reviews
Publication Score
Edge 10/10
Fourth ever top score awarded
Electronic Gaming Monthly 10/10
Platinum Award,
Game of the Year
Famitsu 32/40
Game Informer 9.5/10
GameSpot 9.7/10.
Editor’s Choice
GameSpy 85/100
IGN 9.7/10
Editor’s Choice,
Game of the Year 2001
Compilations of multiple reviews
Compiler Score
Metacritic 97% (based on 68 reviews)
Game Rankings 96% (based on 90 reviews)
Awards
2002 Game Developers Choice Awards: Excellence in Audio
5th Annual Interactive Achievement Awards: Console and Overall Game of the Year,
Console Action / Adventure, Visual Engineering
2000 Game Critics Awards: Best Action Game

On its release Halo broke sales records; by April 8, 2002, one million units had been sold: this pace was faster than that of any previous sixth-generation console game. During the two months following Halo‘s release, the game sold alongside more than fifty percent of Xbox consoles. Halo‘s retail price remained at US$49.99 until November 30, 2003. By July 14, 2003, the game had sold three million copies worldwide, and by January 28, 2004, it had reached four million copies. Since its release on November 15, 2001, Halo has sold over five million copies worldwide.

Halo was critically acclaimed and received an overall score of 97% on Metacritic. Electronic Gaming Monthly observed, “This game has me totally mesmerized … [It] engages your intellect on a whole different level”, and awarded the game a perfect score. GameSpot claimed that “Halo‘s single-player game is worth picking up an Xbox for alone”, commenting, “Not only is this easily the best of the Xbox launch games, but it’s easily one of the best shooters ever, on any platform.” IGN remarked similarly, calling Halo a “can’t miss, no-brainer, sure thing, five star, triple A game.” Edge called it “the most important launch game for any console, ever”, and awarded it a 10 out of 10 score, only the fourth such rating in the magazine’s 12-year history. The game received numerous Game of the Year awards, including those of the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences, Electronic Gaming Monthly, Edge, and IGN. The British Academy of Film and Television Arts awarded Halo “Best Console Game”, and Rolling Stone presented it with their “Best Original Soundtrack” award. According to Xbox.com, the game received a total of 48 awards. Among the specific aspects that reviewers praised were the balance of weapons, the role of drivable vehicles,, and the artificial intelligence of enemies.

Although Halo‘s overall reception was positive, the game was criticized for its level design. IGN wrote that “the middle third of the game basically has … the same level over again.” GameSpy placed the game tenth on its “Top 25 Most Overrated Games of All Time” list; the site stated that the levels often “degenerated into recycling the same areas over and over until you were bored to tears” and complained about the lack of online multiplayer play. Noting the level design as a problem, an article on Game Studies.org stated that the game still “triumphs in understanding the anatomy of the FPS,” and is “not so much about ‘combat evolved’ as the subtitle suggests, but about ‘genre evolved’.”

Halo‘s PC rendition garnered mixed reactions and received a score of 83% on Metacritic. While GameSpot claimed that it was “still an incredible action game … [and] a true classic”, awarding it 9.0 out of 10. It received a score of 8.2 out of 10 from IGN, who stated, “If you’ve played the game on the Xbox, there’s not much for you here.” Eurogamer called the game “a missed opportunity”, but stated that the online multiplayer component was “a massive draw … for Halo veterans”.

Legacy

According to Gamespot, Halo‘s “numerous subtle innovations have been borrowed by countless other games since.” The game is often cited as the main reason for the Xbox’s success, and it began what is commonly known as the system’s flagship franchise. Game designer Vox Day credited the game with using science-fiction environments to follow Half-Life in eschewing static levels and a similarity to dungeon crawls, which the FPS genre inherited from Akalabeth. Day further wrote that Halo spurred a sustained trend of many other FPS console games. Using criteria including revenue, average review scores, commentary, spin-offs and other elements, Halo has been estimated as the second to top game of the twenty-first century, behind Grand Theft Auto: Vice City. The game’s popularity sparked the usage of terms like “Halo clone” and “Halo killer”; the game Killzone was billed as the latter. The Halo engine has been used for the game Stubbs the Zombie in “Rebel Without a Pulse”.

Halo has been featured at both Major League Gaming and the World Cyber Games. In machinima, the game was used as the basis for the popular Red vs. Blue. The game’s sequel, Halo 2, made US$125 million with unit sales of 2.38 million on the first day of its release, earning it the distinction of the fastest-selling United States media product in history. Three years later, Halo 3 shattered that record with the biggest opening day in entertainment history, taking in US$170 million in its first 24 hours.

Adaptations

Further information: Halo (series)#Adaptations and List of official Halo series media

The story surrounding Halo: Combat Evolved has been adapted into novels, the first of which was Halo: The Fall of Reach, a prequel. Published in October 2001, this novel was written by Eric Nylund, who reportedly completed it in seven weeks. The novel became a Publishers Weekly bestseller with almost two hundred thousand copies sold. The following novel, entitled Halo: The Flood, is a tie-in to Halo: Combat Evolved, describing not only the experiences of the Master Chief, but also those of other characters on Installation 04. Written by William C. Dietz, this novel appeared on the Publishers Weekly bestsellers list during May 2003. Nylund returned to write the third novel, Halo: First Strike, which takes place between the events of Halo: Combat Evolved and those of Halo 2. Written in 16 weeks, it was published in December 2003. Later novels, Halo: Ghosts of Onyx (written by Nylund and released on October 31, 2006) and Halo: Contact Harvest (written by Joseph Staten) further extended the Halo storyline.

Another adaptation is the Halo Graphic Novel, a collection of four short stories released in July 2006. It was written and illustrated by well-known graphic novelists Lee Hammock, Jay Faerber, Tsutomu Nihei, Brett Lewis, Simon Bisley, Ed Lee and Jean Giraud. Bungie Studios regards Halo‘s adaptations as canon.

The game exhibits some rather startling jumps in tone, from the clean almost humorous sci-fi action of Master Chief versus the flood to the grim body horror of the flood parasites who take over their live victims and turn them into relentless zombie hordes, yet the well timed and masterfully arranged musical score keeps the flow going along smoothly easing the transitions between themes. Few games give the sense of scale and majesty that Halo’s outdoor environments do, and it’s sci-fi storyline, while reminiscent of existing previous classics retains enough originality and coherence to be gripping

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Doom 4 Announced

id Software today announced that it has begun production on Doom 4, and is now in the process of expanding its internal team of developers to work on the shooter sequel.

“Doom is part of the id Software DNA and demands the greatest talent and brightest minds in the industry to bring the next installment of our flagship franchise to Earth,” — id Software CEO Todd Hollenshead

“It’s critical for id Software to have the best creative minds in-house to develop games that meet the standards synonymous with our titles.”

the game will be cross-platform and available for PC, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360,using the new id Tech 5 engine for the project.

id will also be hosting the 13th annual QuakeCon convention on July 31.

Awesome news, let’s hope you don’t have to drop your weapon to use the flashlight in this one, heh.

Doom 3Doom 3

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Resident Evil: Degeneration trailer

The trailer for the upcoming Resident Evil movie (Yes, that’s right, movie not game) from Capcom and Sony is out. It’s going to be a full 3d CG affair, none of this Mila Jovovitch wallhack nonsense.

Apparently the movie will be on blu-ray only so it will be playable in a PS3.

Nice to see Claire back, at any rate!!

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Paranoia – Half Life 1 Zombie/horror single player mod

Paranoia – a total conversion singleplayer modification for Half-Life (GoldSrc engine) has been released.

PARANOIA is released!

Our team is proud to announce the release of Paranoia! Our project is finally done and ready for downloading!

You will play the role of a russian officer of the secret service. Your first impressions are that this mission will be just like any other, but you really have no idea what nightmares future events have in store for you…

2. SYSTEM REQUIREMENTS

Minimal configuration:

Processor with 1 GHz
64 Mb Ram
3D accelerator video card (32 Mb) with OpenGL mode support
Soundcard, Mouse, Keyboard
Half-Life v 1.1.1.0 or higer

Recommended configuration:

Processor with 2 GHz
512 Mb Ram
3D accelerator video card (128 Mb) with OpenGL mode support
Soundcard, Mouse, Keyboard
Half-Life STEAM v 1.1.2.0

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Resident Evil 5

Rumour has it that the next resident evil (Controversial due to the fact that it seems to be set in a 3rd world country) is in fact located in Haiti.

This makes all sorts of sense when you consider Haiti is the “home” of the zombie.

By the way, if you haven’t seen it yet, here’s the resident evil 5 trailer from E3 2007

It looks neat, but I can see why it might be considered controversial!

Resident Evil Biohazard 3 Series 5 Claire Redfield Leather Jacket Ver (Biohazard 2 Ver) Action Figure

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zomband

You awake…

You wonder where you are for a moment. You realize that you’re in a oddly silent city. No cars. No planes. No people. What’s going on?

You realize that you have nothing with you. If you want to live, you’re going to have to survive on your own it appears; until you can find out what is going on. Find food, water, and shelter. How long can you survive in the city alone? Can you escape to the east over the bridges?

You begin to wander a bit, exploring your immediate surroundings, and then you hear something you have never heard before. Something like a crowd of moaning people…

Zomband is a rogue-like game where you must escape a city filled with zombies! Zomband plays like Angband (http://www.thangorodrim.net), with similar controls and symbol conventions.

Just like most rogue-likes, each new game you play is randomly generated, giving you tons of replayability! Go, kill undead, and escape the city!

Click here to download Zomband

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Left 4 Dead

The Game
Left 4 Dead is a multiplayer co-op surival horror game being published by Turtle Rock Studios in close partnership with Valve software, to be released before the end of 2007. The premise behind the game is that the rabies virus has mutated into a new, more virulent strain and caused a pandemic outbreak, infecting most of the world’s population. You and three other players are the “lucky” few who are immune to the virus. The rest of the world has been turned into mobs of bloodthirsty murderers, hellbent on killing you on sight.

These mindless killers aren’t your traditional shambling zombies however – they’re not even undead, instead very much alive and just as easily killed as a normal person. They are very fast however, and semi-intelligent when it comes to their attacks. Think 28 days later type of zombies.

The Players
A game consists of 8 player slots, 4 survivors and 4 boss infected (which we’ll cover in a moment). The survivors play out like your traditional FPS; they’re armed to the teeth, but must work together in order to advance. Rambos will quickly meet with an untimely demise, and failure to cover all potential angles of attack will be costly to the party. At the beginning of the game, the four survivors appear in a sort of safe area, where they can gather weapons, health packs, and explosives. When ready, survivors head out with the intention of reaching an evacuation area to be helicopter-lifted to safety. Standing between them are hordes upon hordes of infected, and the boss infected players.

Besides playing out like a traditional fps, there’s also some subtle nuances to playing as a survivor. Each player can grab a medpack, useful for restoring the health of either your teammate or yourself and staying in the game. Occasionally a survivor may get knocked to the floor and start to “bleed out”. When this happens, the remaining teammates have a limited amount of time to clear out the zombies beating on the player, and then help them get up. While bleeding out, players are limited to just the use of their pistols.

Should a player die, the game is not necessarily over for them. A player can be revived either at the end of a map in the next safe room, or teammates may occasionally come across their lost comrade hiding away in a closet or locked room further along in the level.

Campaigns are composed of five maps, and will take approximately an hour to finish. So far Turtle Rock Studios has shown one entire campaign publicly consisting of a romp through a hospital, subway, and building complex. The atmosphere is varied throughout, but most locales tend to be very dark and atmospheric.

The Director
In what might be considered the most revolutionary aspect of Left 4 Dead, zombies aren’t spawned from spawn points like a traditional FPS, instead Turtle Rock Studios has implemented a system called the Director. What the Director does is monitor the stress levels of each individual player and reacts accordingly – pummeling players with waves of zombies after a lull, then toning it down a notch, letting things settle, then ramping it back up again. What you get is a series of peaks and valleys in the action and games which are completely different each time, keeping the players guessing.

The Director also manages the in-game music, playing soft and creepy music when there’s a lull in the action, and ramping it up when the infected horde attacks.

The Boss Infected
The other 4 players in the game can opt to play on the infected side. This gives them access to four special infected, each with their own talents and abilities. Boss infected are very fragile, and can be taken down in a matter of seconds (with the exception of the tank boss) to focus fire. As such, your primary goal as a boss infected should be to attack the survivors at the most opportune times (mobbed by regular infected, separated, etc.).

The Boomer

This fat sack of methane has the ability to projectile vomit up a concoction of blood and bile which serves as zombie heroin. Upon landing on a survivor, all infected in the immediate area (plus some spawned adds) will swarm said player. With their vision hindered by the blood, it’s up to the remaining teammates to cover the puked upon, and make sure they don’t get overwhelmed. When killed, the boomer explodes in a blast of methane which harms all survivors near to him, so make sure to kill this one at range.

The Smoker

The smoker’s special abilities include releasing a cloud of smoke that obscures the survivors’ vision, plus a prehensile tongue the smoker can use to grasp a survivor around the neck and drag them over to him, hanging the player on the edges of building and debris, or just separating the player from his teammates.

The Hunter

The hunter is the stealth/agility unit. Able to leap 50 feet up in the air, pounce upon unsuspecting survivors, and even go invisible when standing still, the hunter is a master of hit and run. It’s also paper-thin, so as mentioned, players must remember to only attack at the most opportune of moments. The pounce attack is particularly vicious, it’s very frightening to have something suddenly scream at you, pin you to the floor, and start wailing on you with open fists.

The Tank

This walking hulk can not be voluntarily chosen by players, instead the Director will randomly choose a player to assume the role of the tank periodically throughout the campaign. This beefy monstrosity takes a bit more concentrated firepower to take down than the other infected. The catch however is that you can’t bide your time and sneak up on the survivors with this one; he has an aggression meter which slowly starts building up for as long as he’s not within sight of the survivors. He makes a huge amount of noise as he approaches (making any form of stealth impossible), so this one is your “run in guns a’ blazing” kill machine.

The Witch
The 5th type of boss infected is not playable, but instead makes appearances sporadically throughout levels. The witch looks like a normal infected, but is typically found screaming and writhing in pain on the floor. Capable of one-shotting players and laying waste to your whole party in a matter of seconds, the trick is to avoid her completely – the players must turn off their flashlights and tiptoe silently past her in order to avoid confrontation. If she turns on you however, the players must down her ASAP or risk a whooping.

Gameplay

Setting & Levels

Gameplay takes place in urban cities, small hamlets, wooded rural settings, shopping malls and other such locations. Four players take control of the four main characters of the game, “The Survivors”, who subsequently play through the levels fighting off the Infected, which are humans who have been infected with a mutated form of rabies. Each level has the players fighting towards a goal, such as escaping by helicopter. (The helicopter has to be called in by radio. During the final wait for rescue, players must face a final onslaught of the infected.) [2]

There will be four scenarios with around five maps each in the first release of Left 4 Dead.

Damage, Dying & Checkpoints

Check points also provide a re-spawn point for downed Survivors. As long as one Survivor manages to reach a check point, the others will appear again on the map in closets or in other “trapped” situations. Survivors don’t die instantly from too much damage, however. They are first knocked down, but can continue to fire with their pistols until helped by another Survivor. Movement speed is affected by injuries, slowing damaged Survivors down until they are helped by health kits or pain medications. Left 4 Dead will have full friendly fire that can’t be switched off. This keeps the challenge of the game up. [2]

Playing as the Infected

Four subsequent players can join the server and take control of the larger, more powerful Infected with unique abilities amongst the other AI Infected. Since only one Boomer, one Smoker and two Hunters are allowed at any one time, players have to select their preferred Infected and wait for it to spawn. Players can also control the tank, but it’s only spawned a few times during each scenario. A special alert gives Infected players the option to start playing as the Tank when it does spawn.

The infected have the ability to see survivors through the walls at a certain range if the survivors are running, with the flashlight on, or talking. Otherwise, Survivors are not visible through walls. The Infected can also see in the dark, unlike the Survivors.

If a player playing an infected dies in less than about 3 seconds after spawning he/she is immediately respawned. Infected spawn in front of the Survivors and can, if they stay still, see a marker for their likely path of advance so they can set up ambushes.

Throughout levels, Infected-only ways up buildings are marked with symbols. These can be climbed and used for ambushes, especially with the Infected immunity to falling damage. [2]

Team Coordination & Communication

The Survivors can communicate by automated voice commands that are accessed by quick menus. They will also sound off automatically when doing such things as reloading or spotting Infected. Over 1000 unique lines have been recorded for each Survivor. [2]

Survivors will also be able to see each other through walls as colored outlines to make it easier to find each other.

AI

The AI in Left 4 Dead allows the game to be played by fewer than four players, by making the other survivors bots, these bots will follow one of the player-controlled survivors. The Infected bosses will also be played by the AI, if there is less then four players on the infected team. The AI in Left 4 Dead is allegedly so convincing that survivors won’t be able to distinguish between bots and real players in the role of the infected.

The Director

The AI also features a dynamic system for game drama, pacing and difficulty called the “director”. Instead of fixed spawn points for enemies, the director AI places enemies in different positions, creating a new experience each time. It will also balance action and moments of tense calm. [2] When the AI Director feels that players have been facing a particularly intense battle it will slow down the tide of enemies. After a sufficient lull of action the director will send more enemies to increase the drama again.

Award System

Left 4 Dead will include Steam’s in-development awards system, which records players’ accomplishments and mishaps. There are different awards for the different “teams” in the game:

The Survivors

The Survivors receive merits for accomplishments such as completing a Scenario without using any health items or the flashlight. Survivors will also receive awards for doing things such as helping a downed survivor get back up, or by saving them from the infected.

The Survivors receive demerits for mishaps such as shooting a teammate, or killing a boomer near teammates. Survivors will also receive demerits for walking into friendly fire, or purposely causing one’s death without giving the rest of the survivors any benefit from it.

The Infected

The Infected receive merits for accomplishments such as killing a survivor, or poisoning a survivor. The Infected will also receive awards for helping other infected kill a survivor by making a combined attack on a survivor, or causing a swarm of infected to kill a survivor.

The Infected receive demerits for mishaps such as harming a teammate, or killing a teammate. The Infected will also receive demerits for walking into friendly fire, avoiding the survivors for a certain period of time, or purposely helping the survivors.

The Survivors

 

 


The survivors. Left to right: Francis, Zoey, Bill, Louis.

There are four playable human characters in the game, each with a different and unique appearance to make it easier to identify which character you are looking at when you aren’t close enough to recognize the face. Each player is randomly assigned a character when they join the server and, to prevent arguments, each character has the same abilities and may use the same weapons.

Francis Barrels
The tattoo-covered biker.
Zoey Coen
The teenage daughter of a wealthy family.
Bill Calhoun
A Vietnam veteran with combat skills that have helped keep him alive.
Louis Parker
An assistant manager at a local retail electronics chain store.

Weapons

The main weapons in Left 4 Dead are divided into two tiers. The first is available to everyone when the scenario starts. Weapons in the second tier can be found throughout the maps and at the end of the scenario, just before the final fight. All weapons can be used to bash Infected with in close combat, pushing them back. The weapons have been said to resemble those of Counter Strike Source, but with increased recoil. There is no information on the amount of ammo that is given to the players when they acquire each of these guns, as well as if there is a way to distribute them to other team mates.

Main Weapons – First Tier

Each survivor has the choice of starting with one of either weapons, but they can switch or restock ammo on checkpoints.

  • Pump shotgun deals heavy damage to an enemy or many at once. Holds 7 or 8 shells and can be shot without reloading all shells.
  • Uzi submachine gun deals light progressive damage. Holds around 30 cartridges and has enough accuracy to shoot at medium range.

Main Weapons – Second Tier

Each survivor has the choice of switching their first tier weapons to one of these on later checkpoints.

  • M16 Rifle in the game can be viewed as a more powerful and accurate version of the uzi.
  • Sniper Rifle in the game is extremely powerful, is the most accurate, and is still mildly accurate without having to use the scope.
  • Semi-automatic shotgun in the game can be viewed as a more powerful version of the Shotgun that does not require a pump after each shot.

Secondary Weapons

Each survivor starts with a handgun, and they can be restocked on checkpoints.

  • Handgun is mainly used as a support or emergency weapon. If a second handgun is found, they can be dual-wielded. When a survivor is knocked down the only weapon that can be used is the handgun, but accuracy is greatly diminished in this state.

Tertiary Weapons

Each survivor has the choice of carrying only one Molotov Cocktail or Pipe bomb.

  • Molotov Cocktail Burns anything its fire touches and kills most infected that come into contact with it.
  • Pipe bomb Extremely powerful and dangerous to use due to the size of its explosion and its ability to kill all survivors nearby.

The Infected

 


 


The Infected are Left 4 Dead’s name for what are essentially zombies. The zombies in the game are based on the zombies (who are ordinary civilians that are infected with a form of rabies, making them ravenous and psychotic) from the 2002 film 28 Days Later, which the game takes a lot from design-wise.[3] The zombies, as opposed to the slow, shuffling types associated with Night of the Living Dead or Half-Life, are fast and can pounce, creating quite a formidable foe. They will however go down with a well-placed gunshot, meaning they can be dealt with easily on their own, but in great numbers are difficult to handle. In addition, there are five mutated Infected who have their own special abilities and are more powerful than the regular Infected:

The Boomer
A hugely obese Infected that can projectile vomit at The Survivors, blinding them and attracting swarms of nearby Infected to them. When Boomers die they blow up, creating a large amount of damage and exorbitant amounts of gore and viscera.
The Hunter
An agile Infected who can climb walls and jump over rooftops, similar to Half-Life 2’s Fast Zombie. If the Hunter stands motionless against a wall it will turn invisible. It can then pounce on a survivor, pinning them down on the floor and slashing at them with its claws, rendering the victim powerless unless The Hunter is killed by a team-mate or knocked off its victim. It is extremely weak, and can only sustain minor gunfire before dying. The Hunter can also retreat, and slowly heal itself.
The Smoker
A zombie with a long, whip-like tongue that can drag Survivors away from their team-mates and use its tongue as an organic noose to strangle Survivors when it is perched from a rooftop. Similar to Half-Life’s Barnacle, or Resident Evil’s Licker. When in danger, it can leave a haze of black smoke, distorting the Survivors’ vision.
The Tank
A huge, muscular zombie capable of throwing large items such as cars or blocks of concrete. Its slow movement is countered by high strength and toughness. To prevent the tank from camping away from the survivors for too long a frustration timer is set when the survivors are not in sight. When the timer runs out the tank becomes uncontrollable and begins stomping and thrashing giving away its position and becoming vulnerable to the survivors.
The Witch
The only mutant infected that will not be available to players. They are passive upon discovery by the players, but react with hostility to flashlight beams, physical contact, and gunfire in the vicinity. It will be able to kill a player in one hit, and has almost as much health as a Tank, making them the most dangerous of the infected. She has the resemblance of average infected, and can be heard crying to give the players a chance to avoid or attack her.

GUI

HUD

The player’s HUD will allow them to see how much health, ammo, and equipment they have left. The players will also be able to see the name of their teammates, the picture of whom a teammate is playing as, the amount of health and equipment each of the other teammates have, as well as if they are in danger, downed, or dead.

Awareness

The game will feature full body awareness in which the players will be able to see their own bodies when they look down. This is very useful for players when they are in areas where they want to be close to an edge, when they are downed they will know where their body is facing, and will help player hide themselves.

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